Day two of HRH AOR 2018 has begun and what a day it was. Both arenas were host to some standout performances and were equally as packed out through the day.
Arena two once again held a more Glam/Sleeze type of artist. With acts such as The Nasty High, Chasing Dragons and Midnight City on the stage it was the start of a great line up. Stand out performers of the day were Chasing Dragons who put their all into the performance. Front woman Tank was fantastic at interacting with the audience and putting herself out there by climbing the barrier to connect with the crowd. This was also the last show their current guitarist Mitch was to play with the band but his two replacements were here today for their first introduction with the band. Another stand out was Midnight City which are another band that can put on a great show and the arena was certainly packed out for their performance. Throughout the day many of the bands paid tribute to the late Nathan Gunn from Estrella who recently passed away by handing round collection boxes for his family.
In Arena One there were some classic AOR bands making up the lineup. With Hand of Dime, Little Ceaser and Enuff Znuff storming the stage. First band Blood Red Saints were the perfect start to the day as they got the crowd going and set them up for the rest of the day. Joanovarc kept the momentum going and played a fantastic cover of “Freebird” as part of their set. But the stand out moment for this side was Little Ceaser dedicating their classic track “Hard Rock Hell” to the fans here for the festival and this was certainly the day for fans as they were out in force. The crowd in this arena rivalled that which was in attendance for Night Ranger the night before for Enuff Znuff today and were clearly loving every minute of the performance this band put on.
As the day began to close it was that time for the headline acts to start to take the stage. In Arena One it was Dare while Arena Two saw S.I.N take the stage. Dare were exceptional on stage as they played note for note perfectly without fault. The fans were clearly loving this band being on stage as arms were in the air clapping along. Playing a mix of classics and new tracks they certainly started the night well. Across the way S.I.N were here and making sure the crowd knew about it. With bundles of energy on stage they definitely knew how to perform. Before being kicked off the stage at the end of their slot they played their signature track “Sin City” for the crowd.
Up next in Arena Two were Wildheart with their long hair and Glam Metal feel. They came on stage with high amounts of energy and played to a slightly smaller crowd than had been in the venue for most of the day but this didn’t seem to deter them. The reason for the smaller crowd was down to replacement headliners – The Quireboys! Replacing Jack Russell’s Great White at the last minute/. With the Arena One packed to the brim fans were clearly excited to welcome back an HRH favourite. The band seemed just as excited to be back and spoke to the crowd like family. Throughout the entire set the crowd was dancing, singing and clapping along with the band and quite clearly enjoying the night. The highlight of the set for many fans will have been the closing number of “7 O’Clock” which had almost every voice in the room singing along.
The last headliner of the festival was Skid Row and it was time to hear them play. With the venue busier than it had been all night, the crowd was ready for them to take the stage. Opening with “Slaves To The Grind” before heading into “Sweet Little Sister” the crowd went mad for them. Front man JP Theart spoke to the crowd throughout the night getting them louder and louder as the night went on. With plenty of call backs it was clear he was a pro at being front and centre stage. The band continued to play through classic tracks such as “Rattlesnake Shake”, “Big Guns” and “Piece of Me” but the crowd really joined in on the huge “18 and Life”. The solos during “Monkey Business” were another exceptional moment as the crowd continued to stay focused on the band and continued to dance about. The whole performance was outstanding from start to end and as the band left the stage this crowd was clearly not ready to let them go yet. Not to fear though as the band returned for the encore which took the crowd to the huge “I Remember You” which was another song that brought the crowd out and was almost louder than during “18 and Life”. The final song of the night could only be “Youth Gone Wild” but what other song could Skid Row finish on!
This was a truly perfect ending to what was a fantastic weekend full of great music and a great atmosphere. It is clear to see why fans come back year after year as there is a sense of family about the festival and a completely relaxed feel. But for now HRH AOR is over for this year and what a fantastic festival it has been.
Photography – Mark Ellis : http://shootthegroove.com
Review Emmie Ellis